|Publication number||US7360833 B2|
|Application number||US 11/153,431|
|Publication date||Apr 22, 2008|
|Filing date||Jun 16, 2005|
|Priority date||Nov 7, 2003|
|Also published as||US20050242638|
|Publication number||11153431, 153431, US 7360833 B2, US 7360833B2, US-B2-7360833, US7360833 B2, US7360833B2|
|Inventors||Christopher J. Vitito|
|Original Assignee||Vitito Christopher J|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (92), Referenced by (22), Classifications (33), Legal Events (6)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
This application is a continuation-in-part of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/982,896, filed Nov. 8, 2004, entitled “AUTOMOBILE ENTERTAINMENT SYSTEM”, which is currently pending, and is based upon U.S. Provisional Patent Application Nos. 60/517,862, filed Nov. 7, 2003, entitled “AUTOMOBILE ENTERTAINMENT SYSTEM”; and this application is a continuation-in-part of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/920,431, filed Aug. 18, 2004, entitled “AUTOMOBILE ENTERTAINMENT SYSTEM”, which is currently now abandoned, and based upon U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 60/517,862, filed Nov. 7, 2003, entitled “AUTOMOBILE ENTERTAINMENT SYSTEM”, 60/534,705, filed Jan. 8, 2004, entitled “AUTOMOBILE ENTERTAINMENT SYSTEM”, and 60/571,516, filed on May 17, 2004, entitled “AUTOMOBILE ENTERTAINMENT SYSTEM”.
1. Field of the Invention
The invention relates to a vehicle entertainment system. More particularly, the invention relates to an entertainment system integrating a video source and video monitor within the headrest of an automobile.
2. Description of the Prior Art
Entertainment systems for automobiles are well known. As such, many advances have been made in the development of entertainment systems that make the otherwise tedious task of driving in an automobile more bearable. In addition to the development of overhead systems pioneered by the present inventor, systems that mount within the headrest of an automobile have also been developed.
These headrest entertainment systems allow multiple individuals to view a variety of different video screens within the same vehicle. However, nothing yet conceived allows individuals to control the video source in an efficient and convenient manner. The present invention provides an entertainment system with an integrated video source allowing individuals to readily control the video source.
It is, therefore, an object of the present invention to provide a vehicle entertainment system including a video system mounted within an automobile headrest. The headrest includes a headrest body in which the video system is mounted. The video system includes a housing in which a video monitor housing is pivotally mounted, the video monitor housing supporting a video monitor and a video source, the video monitor housing including a top, bottom, first and second sides, front surface and rear surface and wherein the video source is a DVD player mounted along the rear surface of the video monitor housing for accessed from behind the video monitor housing.
Other objects, advantages and salient features of the invention will become apparent from the following detailed description, which taken in conjunction with the annexed drawings, discloses a preferred, but non-limiting, embodiment of the subject invention.
FIGS. 1,2, 3 and 4 present various views of the video system in accordance with the present invention.
The detailed embodiments of the present invention are disclosed herein. It should be understood, however, that the disclosed embodiments are merely exemplary of the invention, which may be embodied in various forms. Therefore, the details disclosed herein are not to be interpreted as limiting, but merely as the basis for the claims and as a basis for teaching one skilled in the art how to make and/or use the invention.
With reference to
In accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention, the video source is a DVD player 20 coupled to the video monitor 16 for the transmission of video content thereto. That is, the DVD player 20 or other video source is integrated within the same housing 17 as the video monitor 16. However, those skilled in the art will appreciate that the video source may take a variety of forms without departing from the spirit of the present invention; for example, and not limited to, satellite video systems and Bluetooth wireless based systems.
The video system 12 is mounted along the rear portion of the headrest 14 such that an individual sitting in the rear seat of the automobile 11 may watch the material presented on the video monitor 16 without disturbing the driver of the automobile 11.
The video monitor 16, DVD player 20 and associated control components are mounted within the housing 17. As those skilled in the art will certainly appreciate, the video monitor 16 is mounted for viewing via an opening in the housing 17. With regard to the DVD player 20, it is integrally molded within the housing 17 and positioned for insertion of the DVDs behind the video monitor 16. By mounting the DVD player 20 in this way, a stable structure is developed that is well adapted for the automobile environment.
While the DVD player 20 is disclosed as being a slot-loaded design with insertion through a slot 20 a behind the video monitor, the DVD player could take a variety of other forms while still being integrated with the video monitor 16. With reference to
With reference to
The first and second sidewalls 24, 26 are respectively provided with bearing slots 28, 29 shaped and dimensioned for receiving lateral posts 30, 31 extending from the sides of the video monitor housing 21. The lateral posts 30, 31 are preferably positioned adjacent the base of the video monitor housing 21 and the bearing slots 28, 29 are similarly positioned for receiving the posts 30, 31. In this way, the lateral posts 30, 31 are mounted within the bearing slots 28, 29 permitting controlled pivoting of the video monitor housing 21 within the recess 18.
The controlled movement of the video monitor housing 21 within the recess 18 is limited by the inclusion of a stop member 32 positioned between the video monitor housing 21 and the second sidewall 26. The stop member 32 limits movement to approximately 30 degrees of forward rotation. However, the stop member 32 may be moved between an obstruction position and a release position to permit selective full forward rotation of the video monitor housing 21 relative to the housing 17. When the stop member 32 is moved in this way, the video monitor housing 21 may be rotated fully forward making the recess 18 fully accessible for reasons that will be discussed below in greater detail.
The housing 17 is mounted within a headrest recess 34 shaped and dimensioned for receiving the housing 17 such that it is flush with the surface of the headrest 14. In accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention, four screws 35 are used in screwing the housing 17 within the headrest recess 34, and securing the housing 17 and video monitor 16 to the headrest.
In addition, and in accordance with a preferred embodiment, a broadcast television receiver 19 is integrated with the video monitor 16 and/or the headrest 14. More particularly, and with reference to
The television receiver 19 is further provided with an antenna 33. The antenna 33 is electrically connected to the television receiver 19 for the transmission of over-the-air signals. The antenna 33 is substantially U-shaped and is wrapped about the housing 17. While a U-shaped antenna wrapped about the housing is disclosed in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention, the antenna may be oriented within a variety of locations within the headrest without departing from the spirit of the present invention.
Although a traditional television receiver is disclosed above in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention, the video system may be modified to include satellite television reception or digital television reception without departing from the spirit of the present invention.
As briefly mentioned above, the video system 12 is mounted within the headrest 14. As those skilled in the art will readily appreciate, the video system 12 is provided with inputs 39 and outputs 41 for audio and video. A multi-wire cable 38 extends from the output of the video system 12. The wires making up the multi-wire cable 38 include those for a power supply 40 and the left and right audio outputs 42, 44 used in providing audio to an alternate audio system, for example, a wireless RF transmitter 46 used in transmitting sound to the vehicle audio system. The video system 12 is electrically connected to the remainder of the automobile 11 and a wireless RF transmitter 46 via electrical communication lines of the multi-wire cable 38 extending through the extension arm 48 of the headrest 14 and the back 50 of the vehicle seat 52. For example, a power source wire 40 and audio output wires 42, 44 are respectively connected to the video system 12 in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention.
In order to facilitate ease of installation, and with reference to
Passage of the connector shroud 56 through the extension arm 48 and the back 50 of the vehicle seat 52 is further enhanced by the shape of the connector shroud 56. More particularly, the connector shroud 56 is cylindrical and is shaped and dimensioned to readily fit within the extension arm 48 of a conventional headrest 44. As will be discussed below in greater detail, the connector shroud 56 houses a plurality of connector pins 80 used in linking the video system to other components of the present invention.
The eyelet 54 includes a cylindrical housing 60 shaped and dimensioned to fit over the connector shroud 56. The eyelet 54 is selectively secured to the shroud 56 via a conventional lock arm 62 used in the secure connection of cable connectors. The housing 42 includes an open first end 64 that is shaped to receive the connector shroud 56 and a second end 66 having a closed loop 68 extending therefrom. The closed loop 68 is shaped and dimensioned for engagement with the “wire puller” 59. In this way, the eyelet 54 is secured to the connector shroud 56 at the distal end 58 of the multi-wire cable 38 and both are drawn through the back 50 of the vehicle seat 52 by the “wire puller” 59. Once the distal end 58 of the multi-wire cable 38 is pulled through the vehicle seat 52, the eyelet 54 is removed from the connector shroud 56 and the cable 38 is ready for attachment to various components as described below in greater detail. Although a closed loop is disclosed for attachment to the wire puller in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention, other structural coupling members, for example, hook, snap, open loop, etc. could be used without departing from the spirit of the present invention.
Once the distal end 58 of the multi-wire cable 38 is pulled though the back 50 of the vehicle seat 52, various adaptors may be used to couple it to the appropriate power, video and audio sources. With reference to
The power adaptor 88 shown in
The power adaptor 88′ shown in
More particularly, and in accordance with preferred embodiments of the present invention, the power source wire 40 runs either directly from the main automobile power source (see
As those skilled in the art will certainly appreciate, the audio portion of the source may be transmitted to users in a variety of ways without departing from the spirit of the present invention. For example, and in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention, the video monitors 16 are provided with a direct audio input 60 allowing users to simply plug-in their headphones to listen to the audio content of the source being transmitted by the video monitor 16.
In accordance with still a further feature of the present invention, the audio source being generated by the DVD player 20 is transmitted to a wireless RF transmitter 46 via the audio output wires 40, 42 discussed above, which transmits the audio content at a frequency received by the radio system of the automobile 11 or wireless headphones. In this way, the users of the present system need only tune to a predetermined radio frequency to listen to the audio content through the traditional speaker system of the automobile 11. Further, and in accordance with yet a further embodiment of the present invention, the audio output wires 40, 42 of the DVD player 20 may be hardwired to the radio of the automobile 11 for listening over the stereo system of the automobile 11. As those skilled in the art will certainly appreciate, it is further contemplated the audio output wires 40, 42 may be connected to a variety of other sound transducers which convert the audio signals to audible sounds for listening by those watching the video monitor without departing from the spirit of the present invention. As mentioned above, where headphones are utilized, the audio outputs will preferably be connected to a wireless transmitter for use in conjunction with wireless headphones. Optionally, it is contemplated the audio outputs may be connected to a switch box allowing for selective use of both the audio system of the automobile and/or an audio jack (for attachment with a headphone). As those skilled in the art will certainly appreciate, the system will also include ports for the attachment of video games and other video sources.
Control of the DVD player 20 is facilitated by the provision of control buttons (not shown) along the outer surface of the DVD player. The control buttons are conventional in the art and may take a variety of forms. In addition to the provision of manual control buttons, the DVD player may further include a remote control (not shown) such that an individual need not actually touch the DVD player 20 or video system 12 to control the video content or the volume generated by the video system 12. Once again, and as those skilled in the art will certainly appreciate, a variety of remote control systems may be utilized without departing from the spirit of the present invention.
The versatility of the present system may be further enhanced by the provision of different cables for the power and the audio output. For example, and with reference to
As mentioned above, once the distal end 158 of the power cable 138 and audio output cable 139 are pulled though the back 150 of the vehicle seat 152, various adaptors may be used to couple it to the appropriate power and audio sources. In accordance with this embodiment, it is preferred that the audio output cable 139 be directly connected to a wireless RF transmitter 146, while either of the power adaptors 188, 188′ disclosed in
As shown in
In accordance with yet a further embodiment and with reference to
With this mind and with reference to
More specifically, the central switching assembly 213 is provided with the ability to receive audio and video outputs from the various video systems 212 a-d connected thereto and transmit, in a predetermined manner under the control of the vehicle operator, video and audio inputs to the various video systems 212 a-d connected thereto. In addition to providing for the ready transfer of information between the various video systems 212 a-d connected thereto, the central switching assembly 213 is also provided with a wireless FM transmitter 217. The transmitter 217 allows for the transmission of audio signals to the automobile radio (not shown) for listening on a predetermined frequency via the automobile stereo. In particular, and as those skilled in the art will certainly appreciate, the transmitter 217 is designed to transmit audio signals on a predetermined frequency receivable by the vehicle radio. The signal is received by the vehicle radio, demodulated and played over the vehicle stereo. The central switching assembly 213 may also be provided with a TV tuner, a modulator and/or other wireless transmitters.
With regard to the system disclosed with reference to
With reference to the first and second video systems 212 a-d, each includes two six-pin cables 276, 278 extending therefrom, one for the input side 239 a, 239 b of the system and the other for the output side 241 a, 241 b of the video system 212 a, 212 b. Each of the six-pin cables 276, 278 is passed through a respective extension arm of the headrest 214 a, 214 b. With reference to the output side 241 a, 241 b of the video system 212 a, 212 b, the six-pin cable 278 includes wiring for power, right and left audio output signals, and a video output signal. In this way, the first and second video systems are able to readily transfer video and audio information to the central switching assembly 213 for sharing with the remaining video systems 212 a-d connected thereto.
As mentioned above, each of the first, second, third and fourth video systems 212 a-d include an input cable 276 for receiving audio and video signals from the central switching assembly 213. In accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention, each of the input cables 276 is a six-pin cable includes wiring for power, right and left audio input signals, and a video input signal. In this way, the first, second, third and fourth video systems 212 a-d are able to readily receive video and audio information from the central switching assembly 213.
With output cables 278 transferring audio and video signals to the central switching assembly 213, and input cables 276 transferring audio and video signals to the video systems 212 a-d, the central switching assembly 213 includes a central processor 280 programmed to control the transmission of signals in an efficient manner.
The power supply 282 for the video systems 212 a-d is run through the central switching assembly 213. As mentioned above, each of the cables 276, 278 coupled to the various video systems 212 a-d includes wiring for power transmission. With this in mind, the central switching assembly 213 is linked to a power source 282, for example, an auxiliary power plug commonly found in vehicles or a direct link to the vehicle power source via cable previously discussed with reference to
Through implementation of the switching system described above, automobile passengers have the choice of watching individual videos by using the video systems as self contained units or watching the same video through the linking provided via the implementation of the central switching assembly 213.
While the preferred embodiments have been shown and described, it will be understood that there is no intent to limit the invention by such disclosure, but rather, is intended to cover all modifications and alternate constructions falling within the spirit and scope of the invention as defined in the appended claims.
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|U.S. Classification||297/217.3, 348/837|
|International Classification||A47C31/00, B60R11/02, A47C7/62, B60R11/00, A47B96/00, B60N2/48|
|Cooperative Classification||B60N2002/0264, B60R2011/008, H04N5/64, B60R2011/0017, B60R2011/0045, G11B17/05, B60R2011/0059, B60R2011/0096, B60R11/0235, B60R2011/0061, B60R2011/0094, B60N2/4876, B60K37/06, B60K35/00, B60K2350/1024, B60R2011/0085, B60K2350/1028, B60R11/0211, B60R2011/0082|
|European Classification||B60K35/00, B60K37/06, G11B17/05, B60R11/02C, B60N2/48F, B60R11/02E2|
|Aug 31, 2006||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: SUNTRUST BANK,GEORGIA
Free format text: SECURITY AGREEMENT;ASSIGNOR:VITITO, CHRISTOPHER J.;REEL/FRAME:018193/0722
Effective date: 20060822
|Mar 22, 2010||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: AUDIOVOX CORPORATION,NEW YORK
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:VITITO, CHRISTOPHER J;REEL/FRAME:024114/0833
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Owner name: AUDIOVOX CORPORATION, NEW YORK
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|Oct 19, 2011||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 4
|Nov 1, 2011||SULP||Surcharge for late payment|
|Mar 15, 2012||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: VITITO, CHRISTOPHER J., FLORIDA
Free format text: RELEASE BY SECURED PARTY;ASSIGNOR:SUNTRUST BANK;REEL/FRAME:027867/0015
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|Mar 20, 2012||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: WELLS FAGO BANK, NATIONAL ASSOCIATION, NORTH CAROL
Free format text: SECURITY AGREEMENT;ASSIGNOR:VOXX INTERNATIONAL CORPORATION;REEL/FRAME:027890/0319
Effective date: 20120314